Re: Revision of "Simulations" essay available.

From: Mitch Howe (
Date: Thu Jan 31 2002 - 16:10:47 MST

Alan Grimes wrote on January 31, 2002 2:52 PM
> However there seems to be an underlying premice, that a "Big
> Brother"/"nany"/"G0D" AI should be ruling everyone's life.
> I could not tolerate such tyrany, no matter how benevolant. Take that
> away, and much of the argument for simulation falls through....

"Ruling" is such a strong word, and I confess that I always feel like I run
against limitations in the English language when trying to explain the
minimum degree of regulation that the preservation of the human race will

One way to look at a minimalist singleton SI like a Sysop is this: A Sysop
is not interested in restricting or punishing the actions of would-be
murderers; It is interested in protecting those who do not wish to be
murdered. (Take this same reasoning and apply it to nanotech grey goo,
bioengineered super-plagues,
nuclear weapons, etc.)

Would you be upset if your local police department were 100% efficient and
preventing violent crime and 0% corrupt in the use of this power?

The reason so many people cringe at their first exposure to a concept like
Sysop is that they assume the system would for some reason abuse its ability
to completely protect those who desire protection. Everyone on this list
would agree that giving any human this kind of power would be a mistake, but
assigning ulterior motives to a Sysop is anthropomorphism, and several
threads in the SL4 archives have already discussed it at length. I think
March '01 was an especially good month for this topic.

You may be asking a deeper philosophical question: "Do I really want to live
in a world where murder is impossible?" I know people who feel that this
would strip away some valuable component of 'humanity', and I don't have a
good answer for them - my only response is that if the ability to carry out
murder is an essential element of humanity, then I look forward to becoming
something other than human.

> Also mentioned is the destruction of all natural habitat within which
> human life could be sustained in favor of computonium... Would you
> really so casually brush asside _ALL_ Life including people who disagree
> with the "sysop"...

Of course I wouldn't, and a Sysop wouldn't either. I said that computronium
could become the preferred state of matter, but where it is not there is no
reason to think that a Sysop would steal biospheres for the sake of
conversion. The universe is a big place; There is plenty of room for
uploaded civilization without "assimilating" the Earth. Please do not take
phrases like, "Even if all the matter in the solar system were converted to
computronium. . ." to mean "The entire solar system should be converted to

The Simulations essay does not attempt to fully explain the Sysop
scenario -- I defer to Gordon Worley or Eliezer for more thorough outlines
of the concept.

--Mitch Howe

Do You Yahoo!?
Get your free address at

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Wed Jul 17 2013 - 04:00:37 MDT